Tuesday, June 28, 2011

IBM: health device makers need to focus on Information Seekers

Health device makers should start paying more attention to the overlooked market segment of consumers who are relatively healthy, but could use some help managing a health-related challenge, according to new research published by IBM.  

The report - titled "The future of connected health devices" - calls this consumer segment "Information Seekers". These consumers are looking for solutions that can provide missing information to help them gain greater control over their conditions and ultimately lead healthier, more independent lives.

The authors noted that, to date, health device makers have primarilytargeted their products and services for consumers who are extremely health or fitness conscious as well as those who need to be regularly monitored.

"Between these two extremes sits a large, fragmented and often overlooked population who seek better information to effectively manage their health," the report authors Heather Fraser, YangJin Kwon and Margaret Neuer stated. "Our research suggests that successful solution providers will approach this market opportunity as an ecosystem of partners – with an integrated solution that extends beyond the device itself".

They added that thanks to recent technological advances and increased willingness to collaborate among industries, it is now feasible to deliver solutions that meet the needs of information seekers and help reduce long-term healthcare costs. 

The report noted that health device makers now have the means to target Information Seekers and should focus on the following principles:

  • Make it easy - consumers need simple, intuitive, yet feature-rich devices and online tools that are designed for their specific needs.
  • Design the solution with the end result in mind - solutions should involve integration with healthcare providers, payers and even peer support networks. 
  • Pick a position and partner well – since it is unlikely any single firm will be able to offer a full solution companies can determine, by evaluating competitive strengths and weaknesses, what they can profitably do on their own and where they will need partners. 
  • Help set the rules - device makers should get actively involved in establishing standards for connected health devices.

Friday, June 24, 2011

"Super Mobile" doctors represent new type of professional mHealth user

A new generation of physicians is enthusiastically embracing mobile technology, according to a study conducted among some 3,800 doctors by QuantiaMD, the largest mobile and online physician community.

The survey indicates that a growing number of physicians use smartphones and the usage of tablets is rapidly increasing. 

"A significant group of 'Super Mobile' doctors now use both devices, and they are far more likely to use mobile technology in clinical settings to access decision tools, learn about new treatments, look up reference material, and handle patient information,"  Mary Modahl, Chief Marketing Officer, QuantiaMD concluded.

"The growing trend of mobile technology adoption illustrates the great potential of mHealth systems," said Ofer Atzmon, VP Business Development at Aerotel Medical Systems. "As the usage of mobile technologies among physicians increases, they are likely to show much more interest in adopting advanced mHealth technologies to improve the medical service. This will benefit both patients and caregivers."  

Some of the study key findings indicated that: 
  • Physicians are adopting mobile technology at a very high rate. 
  • Physicians’ strong interest in tablet devices indicates this technology will soon command the physician market. 
  • “Super Mobile” physicians who own both smartphones and tablets are accessing online resources at significantly higher rates across a broad range of core professional activities. 
  • Health care institutions are beginning to adopt mobile technology for their physicians and show strong interest in moving forward. 
  • Access to electronic medical record (EMR) data tops the physician wish-list for how they want to use mobile technology. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

93 countries worldwide already offer mHealth services

93 countries around the world are offering at least one type of mHealth service, according to a new report published by the World Health Organization (WHO)

The four most frequently reported mHealth initiatives used by member states are: 
  • Health call centers (59%)
  • Emergency toll-free telephone services (55%)
  • Managing emergencies and disasters (54%)
  • Mobile telemedicine (49%)
The report - titled "mHealth: new horizons for health through mobile technologies" - indicates that the use of mobile and wireless technologies to support the achievement of health objectives (mHealth) has the potential to transform the face of health service delivery across the globe.

The authors note that change is driven by a powerful combination of factors including: rapid advances in mobile technologies and applications, a rise in new opportunities for the integration of mobile health into existing eHealth services, and the continued growth in coverage of mobile cellular networks. 

The WHO observes that health systems worldwide are under increasing pressure to perform under multiple health challenges, chronic staff shortages, and limited budgets, all of which makes choosing interventions difficult. 

The authors note that mHealth needs to adopt globally accepted standards and interoperable technologies, ideally using open architecture.

"Communication technologies would enhance efficiency and reduce cost," the WHO said. "To accomplish this, countries will need to collaborate in developing global best practices so that data can move more effectively between systems and applications. Moving towards a more strategic approach to planning, development, and evaluation of mHealth activities will greatly enhance the impact of mHealth." 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Evolution of Wearable Mobile-Health Applications

Wearable technologies offer exciting opportunities for personal mobile health applications development.

Wearable systems, such as Aerotel's GeoSkeeper, can be implemented in areas of chronic disease management and elderly care. They promise to provide seamless access to health professionals from anywhere and at anytime.
The development of wearable mobile health applications is driven by the promise to bring healthcare to the people instead of bringing people to healthcare. By doing that, healthcare can become more personal and accessible to everyone and reduce costs for health care providers and insurers. 

Wearable systems impose significant challenges to developers, in areas such as development of smart fabrics, miniaturization, battery management, cost-reduction and user interfaces.

Ofer Atzmon, Vice President of Business Development and Marketing at Aerotel Medical Systems, will present the past and present of wearable mobile health systems developments at Mobile Health Expo in New York on Tuesday, June 21, 2011, at 14:30.

Mobile Health Expo is a special event focusing on the convergence of mobile technology and healthcare across the entire mobile health ecosystem, including mhealth, telemedicine, wireless and connected health.

This year event will focus on eight market drivers: ageing at home, disease management, health inclusion for developed and developing countries, provider education, patient education, healthcare gaming, mobile wallets and benefits.